The Red Wings practiced on Thursday ahead of a stretch in which they’ll play 10 games over the course of 19 days, and Dylan Larkin told the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa that the team can make hay while the sun shines:
“It’s a time when we can rally and get a lot of games in a short period of time,” said Dylan Larkin, who has eight goals and 31 assists for 39 points in 52 games played. “If we get hot at the right time, it could be a really fun stretch.”
Larkin now has 48 goals and 68 assists for 116 points in 212 career games. Some of Zetterberg’s herculean time on ice in recent seasons has shifted to the 21 year-old Larkin this season.After the Islanders, the Red Wings begin a stretch of nine games in 15 days that will take them to the NHL trade deadline Feb. 26.They have only 12 games remaining at home, and five will be played before the deadline.
“If we do well,” Larkin said, of the approaching juncture of the season, “we could be right where we want to be with one month left.”
At the same time, as MLive’s Ansar Khan notes, the Wings’ scoring forwards have been battling slumps…
Gustav Nyquist has one point (a goal) in nine games. Tomas Tatar has four points (goal, three assists) in 12 games. Justin Abdelkader has three goals and no assists in 18 games.
Blashill, however, isn’t as concerned about experienced NHL players with a track record as he is in making sure younger players bring a more consistent effort.
“Guys coming up from the American League generally are elite players at the American League level, so their talent discrepancy (in the AHL) is greater,” Blashill said. “There’s still, I think, discrepancy in talent amongst the American League teams where you can take nights off and win in that league. There is none of those here.
“Even teams with bad records aren’t bad teams. Every night you have to be so much on top of your game. I think it’s a learned process at times for young guys to understand, and that’s what separates the elite players in the league from the good players — the guys that find a way to be at the 90 to 100 percentile of their max every single night because there just is no chance to kind of skill yourself around the rink.”
Anthony Mantha played like a burgeoning power forward the first 26 games, collecting 12 goals and 22 points. In 24 games since, he’s produced four goals and eight points – just one point (a goal) in the past nine games.
“For me, it’s been a message for four years now,” Mantha said. “I think lately I’ve been playing pretty good. We talked, me and Blash, a lot this year, a lot of video. Just be focused every game, every shift, do the little details you need to perform.”
The Red Wings also posted a Twitter video of Blashill speaking with the media after practice:
“There’s no bad teams, even teams with bad records aren’t bad teams. So every night you have to be so much on top of your game.”
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) February 8, 2018
Update: The Detroit News posted a 1:10 video of Blashill speaking with the media…